In Japan, New Year's Eve is nothing like in America. Most people stay home, watch TV and go to bed early. Some people like to get up extra early to watch the 1st sunrise of the year. You might go to a local temple to toss your coin, but most people wait until New Years Day to do this.
Originally, I was planning on taking us all down to the big temple in Gion for the New Year's festivities, but after a long day of sight seeing, we were all pooped. We all tried to take a nap in preparation for the festivities, but Frank layed down for a nap... and didn't wake up until the next morning.
But all was still well, the proprietor of Guest House Bon (the little place we like to frequent) took us around the corner so we could experience New Year's with the locals. Juan, the owner (whose name I can never remember), two other guests and myself walked about 3 minutes down a little street to a back door to the Daisen-in temple complex. Once inside, there was a short line of bundled up people, a couple of flood lights and a really big bell. In Japanese buddhism it is customary to litteraly ring in the new year... 113 times. At the big temples the monks are the ones to chime out all the 113 earthly sins, so we felt super lucky to be able to participate in the local one by our guest house.
Once you ring the bell, you get a certificate that says the date and what chime number you had. Juan and I were chime # 41 and #42. The certificate also has a cryptic fortune on it. Juan's was to complicated to be translated by our host, but mine was pretty good. Check out the video down below. HAPPY NEW YEAR Everyone!!!!